Rugby World Cup 2023: Fury at lopsided draw held years ago, All Blacks def Argentina in semi-final thrashing

The lopsided draw for the Rugby World Cup has been slammed after the All Blacks demolished Argentina in the first semi-final on Saturday morning.

Argentina were brave but New Zealand defeated Los Pumas 44-6 to book their place in next weekend’s final. The Kiwis will face the winner of the other semi-final between England and defending champions South Africa.

The semi-final thrashing was deflating after two thrilling quarterfinals last weekend when New Zealand beat Ireland and South Africa knocked out France in two nailbiters.

But the fact the four best teams in the world found themselves on the same side of the draw and playing each other in the quarterfinals, instead of the semis or final, left many scratching their head.

Sonny Bill Williams said on Stan Sport: “Tonight showcased where World Rugby got it wrong in terms of the ranking system.

“I really feel for France, I really feel for Ireland who are sitting at home knowing that they probably could have put on a better show than what Argentina did tonight.”

The world’s best four teams — New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and France — were all put on the same side of the draw because it was held way back in 2020 and didn’t account for recent form.

At the time of the draw, England and Wales were ranked in the top four.

Former Wallaby Justin Harrison disagreed, saying: “Could any one have matched New Zealand tonight? Come on.”

Stephen Hoiles said: “They’ve (Argentina) still got to play for third and fourth, but to be in the top tier, it’s disappointing and no-one likes to see that type of scoreline.

“Sonny Bill mentioned it, it does feel like one side of the draw was very, very heavily weighted to the top four teams in the world and the other side was not. It proved tonight there was two different sides of the draw.”

It’s likely there will noe be the unusual scenario where two teams that didn’t even top their respective pools will face off in the final.

If South Africa beat England on Sunday morning as predicted, it will set up a blockbuster final between the two southern hemisphere giants as they both chase a historic fourth World Cup win.

Will Jordan scored a hat-trick of tries to take his tally to eight for the World Cup, drawing level with the record held by Jonah Lomu, Bryan Habana and Julian Savea.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster said he would sit down with some popcorn to enjoy seeing who his side after a dominant seven-try semi-final win.

Foster insisted he had no preference between reigning champions South Africa and England, who face each other on Sunday in the other semi-final.

“I’ll be watching it, have some popcorn. But I don’t care who wins,” Foster said.

“We’re very much in a ‘focus about ourselves’ stage at the moment.

“South Africa have been playing some brilliant rugby but we’ve also seen an English team that has built quietly. It will be an interesting contrast of styles.”— With AFP

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